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In Japan, space is a big issue. Everything is made compact due to its shrinking amount of space it has. However, just because its small does not mean its ineffective. Perhaps one of the best utilization of small space is the Shichirin Grill. It is a small grill designed to use charcoal to bbq meats. They are the perfect vessel for grilling meats for a small family and they are economical in terms of the charcoal used. The Best Shichirin are slightly larger than the size of your hand and they only take 2 or 3 charcoal to heat.
What is a Shichirin Grill?
Shichirin in Japanese means seven wheels. But in reality, it meals small grills. Shichirin are usually made of Diatomite which has excellent insulating property. They concentrate heat and direct it upward. The end result is a hot and efficient grill, perfect for a BBQ.
The best thing to grill is high grade beef. Obviously wagyu and Kobe beef are the best, but those are hard to come by. USDA prime choice meat are good alternative. Look for beef with lots of marbeling. Crabs, fish and vegetables are also great choice for the grill. The Binchotan will give the food a lovely aroma. Pair it with rice and it will be the perfect combination.
How to use Shichirin Grill?
My favorite way of using a Shichirin Grill is with a group of 2 maybe 3. Set people around the table with the Shichirin Grill right in the center. You should have a plate of meat or vegetable on the side and you can grill your own food.
Be sure to do this outside with a lot of ventilation. If not, you will risk carbon monoxide poisoning. Be careful, its a odorless killer.
To use a Shichirin Grill. Load 2 or three Binchotan Charcoal into the grill. You can heat it up with a Butane Torch. Once the charcoal is lit, place the grill over it. Get some prime meat and lightly sear the exterior. Eat immediately for the best flavor. Its really easy to use.
You can purchase Binchotan Charcoal on Amazon. However, in a pinch, you can use regular charcoal.
A simple dusting is all you need. If you find the exterior to be dirty, I recommending a simple dab of soapy water. But really its not going to effect it. I would just leave it as is. Most of these grills has a paper wrapping of sort. For the left over charcoal, just dump it. Having a dirty grill wont affect you. If anything, dust it out prior to use.
Best Shichirin Grill List
Below, you will find a list of some of the Best Shichirin Grill on the market. There are a few different models on the market. The main difference is the shape, but they all generally work very well.
Portable Yakitori Clay Stove Round #L-897 (Best Overall)
This round Yakitori Grill is one of the Best Small Japanese BBQ Grill. It has a easy to carry handle with a adjustable heat vent on the bottom. This lets you control the overall heat and add more fuel if needed. The wooden base also lets you set it on the table without burning. A lot of the negative reviews on amazon is mostly referring to the size. But thats what a Shichirin is.
NOTO DIA Table-top Charcoal Grill, Shichirin Hida Konro (Best Square Model)
If you want something that looks a little more traditional. This table top model is best. The smallest one only needs 2 charcoal to heat up. If you want something bigger, they have option for that as well. Like the other one, the base comes with a wooden base and a wire rack. Both are necessary for a good grill.
StyleMbro Japanese Yakiniku Grill for Yakiniku, Robata, Yakitori, Takoyaki and BBQ
This model looks sleek with its black exterior and embossed letters. It doesnt look dirty like the other models but is equally as effective. Like the other models, it has a grill and base. You have option for a 5 or 10 inch. Get the bigger one if you plan on serving more than 2 people. But I personally like the small one for compactness.
The Shichirin Grill is the Small Japanese BBQ Grill. A lot of people who bought these without realizing what it is, give it a bad review. However, if you use it for what its designed to be, then its great. You can have tabletop grill without wasting all those charcoal. There are a few models on the market, all are well made. My personal favorite have a adjustable flap at the base. But the other traditional models will work just as well. Its really a matter of personal taste.
Looking for a full sized Japanese Grill, then check out our article on the Best Konro Grill.